Ford Mailbag: Why is everyone so high on Mike Dunleavy?

Updated: April 17, 2002, 5:28 PM ET
By Chad Ford
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Q: Can someone please explain to me what Mike Dunleavy has on Tayshaun Prince? I have watched both play a ton and to my layman eyes Prince seems to be similar but better. He has very similar shooting range but more versatility in his ability to score off the drive (and willingness to drive), he is an equally good rebounder and passer and a much better one-on-one defender and shot blocker. Also Prince did almost all of his scoring this year against double teams while Jason Williams made life a lot easier on Dunleavy . What am I missing? Is this a Duke bias? A son of a NBA star/coach bias? Or is there an aspect to this comparison I am off on? -- Ron Litton -- Chicago, IL

FORD: I got this question several times and it isn't an easy one to answer. I asked several NBA scouts about the differences between Dunleavy and Prince and they didn't have a lot to say. Dunleavy is a better ball handler and outside shooter by a hair. Prince has a better low-post game by a hair. Both are too skinny to make a major impact in the NBA right away. Scouts did pick up a few things that seem to be impacting where they'll go in the draft. First, all of them mentioned Prince's shot release as a problem. He's got a very slow release that leads to a lot of blocked shots. Scouts thought he'd have a much harder time getting his shot off at the pro level than Dunleavey. That leads to their second point. Dunleavy has flourished at the small forward position in college, while Prince's production has dipped when he's moved from power forward to the three. If Prince can't get off his own shot, he's in trouble at the next level. The last point is harder to quantify. Every scout thought Dunleavy had certain "intangibles" and was better fundamentally than Prince. Whether that is because he plays at Duke or has an NBA coach for a father I don't know. But of the 10 scouts and league executives I talk to regularly about the draft, all of them thought Dunleavy was a top 5 pick and Prince was a late first-rounder at best.

Chad Ford

ESPN Senior Writer